The Undeniable Truth Of The QA Manual: It's Boring & Ineffective Alone

Quality Assurance manuals are boring. 

Most people skim or skip and don’t read it. And if they’re not reading it…it’s ineffective. 

The 100-page document is a snoozefest. A sleeper. A book that’ll knock you out from boredom in 5 seconds.

Care to dare this hypothesis? Test someone. See for yourself. 

It’s the cold hard truth. Yell and scream if you’d like. But the document itself isn’t engaging. It’s a sleeper. 

It needs help. It requires engaging training and coaching. We’ll dig into this in a minute. 

But right now…

What is a Quality Assurance manual? 

The manual is a guideline. A recommendation of procedures and processes from ASA, ISO, and the other quality accreditation companies.

Wake up! See. Boring. 

Companies spend a lot of money to be inspected, audited and probed to ensure they’re following the manual and the guidelines from the accreditation firms.  

It’s a document that outlines what needs to be done and when. And it’s not just the QA people that matter. It must be a company mindset. A deep part of the company culture. 

In our world, aircraft maintenance, QA is crucial. A safe aircraft is all of our responsibilities. Safety, it’s the most important thing we can think about. 

The manual helps us achieve this. And it also helps to legitimize companies willing to invest in quality. 

But most team members are deficient in the basics. That’s because you simply cannot hand over the manual and tell someone to read it. 

That doesn’t work! 

How to use the QA manual to become a QA ninja 

The manual is great. ASA does an amazing job to guide companies to do the right thing. 

But like I mentioned before, it’s boring. 

It’s the company's job to make training fun, to engage their employees, and to ensure the processes and procedures are being followed. 

Whether you're an airlines, MRO, lessors or military. Whether you have a QA manual or deal with a supplier that should, these ideas are for you. 

    1. Create videos describing specific sections in your QA manual. A video about how to receive and inspect a component is a great start. 
    2. Hold a 30min training session on what trace and certifications are. Use slides, ask questions, get everyone involved. 
    3. Create a mentorship program where someone in sales regularly meets with a QA leader. 
    4. Send your team to seminars to savvy their skills. 
    5. Role play various situations and how to handle them. 
    6. Train a section of the QA manual a week. 
    7. Hold cross training sessions and how QA impacts various departments. 
    8. Create a re-training agenda. 
    9. Conduct quizzes. Yikes! I know, but it works. 
    10. Ask QA questions in your weekly meetings and have everyone give an example of how they saw it applied. 
    11. Give everyone a chance to have hands on experience with QA. Salespeople should know how to conduct a receiving inspection, finance should know how to read traceability and certifications, you get it. 
    12. Have new employees teach what the learned to a manager. 
    13. Create graphics to reiterate important topics. 
    14. Build client-specific requirements into your platforms. 
    15. Make QA a part of your organizational goals and KPIs. 

Test your suppliers QA practices. Really see what they’re worth. 

It’s industry norm to have someone fill out a QA audit form. But what is this? Does this really test compliance? 

No! It doesn’t. 

Have new partners send you samples of unique ways they incorporate QA training in their organization. Have them send you videos, pictures, and even how they handle specific clients requirements. 

Test them. Visit them. Audit their compliance. 

This is a simple yet effective way to really see who the value creators are. 

Anyone can say they have a manual. But how do they live and breath QA as a culture within their organization? 

QA is important. Take it seriously. Find new and exciting ways to encourage training and be sure you work with partners who do the same. 

The QA manual is great but it’s boring. Remember that when you send it to someone to read. They’ll fall asleep. Engage them with hands-on training.